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4 mos ago
Current Crazy how our lives don't matter at all but are also simultaneously the only things that matter. How's that work?
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4 mos ago
The internet is great because it gives me a platform for bad opinions. I could be like "Ringo was the most talented Beatle" and you would all have to see it.
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4 mos ago
Okay I'm a couple hours late, but how did my cover get blown? I didn't think there was anything identifying me as a dirty seditious commie on my profile.
4 mos ago
I'm going to adopt the boomer idea that no one forms genuine connections anymore but instead of blaming technology I'm gonna find a way to blame capitalism.
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4 mos ago
Hot take: From Hell is Alan Moore's best work. Even hotter take: the From Hell movie is actually pretty good.
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Still around. Will be posting soon.
Drostan Welm/"Osmund Griff" - Outside of Dalenham, Ethora





Drostan's eyes widened in surprise as Varian's two new recruits. When Varian had mentioned he'd found extra people, Drostan had figured he'd grabbed a couple of sturdy-looking millers bearing battered militia gear and in need of extra coin. Or else a couple of dumb, eager youths from the outlying farms, in the city looking for money for their families. Expendables, he'd figured. Extra muscle to bring along for the mission, pay well, and never think about again. Even if he'd been expecting something different, he could not have possibly come up with the "Orc and woman" combo. The woman, he supposed, wasn't all that surprising. In his years as an Ethoran noble, Drostan could count on one hand the number of time he'd ever seen a woman fight, but since becoming a mercenary he realized that the exclusion of women from combat was largely a classist one. Among regular people, women taking up arms seemed to be much less rare, even common. No, it was the Orc that really threw him off. It was strange, that he'd just been thinking about the possibility of orc civility, and here was one now that seemed, or acted, perfectly personable.

Neither introduced themselves and even though Drostan figured that was probably proper, given the situation, his upbringing made it hard to not feel impolite about not introducing himself. He tried to keep it business-like, and with the low, tired quality his voice had by default, the effect was somewhere between boredom and disinterest.

"Osmund. Osmund Griff." He figured he didn't need to clarify that it was his name since most people weren't in the habit of greeting strangers with other people's names.




When the merchant and Varian had both finished talking, Drostan found himself a little concerned, and that concern put an edge in his voice.

"Twenty?" He asked, cocking an eyebrow. He was aware that the merchant had said there could be as many as thirty, but the lower figure was worrisome enough. "Twenty men in a fortified position? Is there more than one entrance? Because if there's only one gate and we charge it..." He trailed off, shaking his head. "If they've got even one good archer, one or two of us are down before we ever get to the gates. And then they could choke us off at the gate, if it's narrow enough." He frowned. He didn't like this. At all. But if the merchant intended to have them killed at this fort, why pay them so much in advance? Was the man stupid? Or was Drostan simply overestimating how difficult this would be?

His frown deepened.
"Damn it!" Edwyn saw a rare moment of non-composure from the sergeant, and as he watched her look over her meager column of men he saw something that might have been fear. Reyes was always coarse and irritable, but she never seemed like this, somehow off-balance. But almost as though she knew someone was watching her as closely as he was, she took a deep breath and leveled her voice to address the comms tech. "Is he fully aware of the situation here on the ground?"

"Yes, sergeant! I told him everything, but he wants this station taken." There was some bitterness in the tech's voice. This was news he took no pleasure in reporting. There was some grumbling among the column as they heard this, scattered jeers of the various derogatory names and remarks normally applied to Brady, most of which concerned his weight. Reyes turned on them, but her gaze didn't shut them up as it normally might have. Taking the station was a fool's endeavor, and they knew it. They didn't want to do it, and Edwyn didn't want to either, but he understood two very important things.

Firstly, he knew there weren't many other options. They couldn't wait for reinforcements since none were coming and since their position became more dangerous the longer they stayed put. They couldn't desert, because they had no means to leave the planet and even if they did, they would be blasted apart by their own fleet as soon as they broke orbit, seeing as the 121st had a zero-tolerance policy toward deserters. Secondly, he didn't think that Reyes would disobey an order. As good of a leader as she might have been, she liked structure, liked order. Maybe her sense of duty was misplaced, but if Brady wanted an assault, Edwyn assumed that Reyes would give him one.

"Alright, soldiers, break for five! Check your gear, and then double check it. We move as soon as we're ready." Almost too stunned to mount resistance, the soldiers grumbled again and the column dispersed. Edwyn stared incredulously at Reyes. Eventually, she caught his gaze and waved him over. "What's your problem, corporal?" She spoke lowly, an edge in her tone. Edwyn might have been intimidated, at one point, but having seen a few men die earlier that day had hardened him, at least for the moment.

"My problem is that you're sending us straight to hell, here, Sarge." He said, without much expression. A statement of fact. Reyes seemed blindsided by his frankness, at first, before anger twisted her expression.

"That sounds like sedition."

"Are you not afraid of dying?"

"Of course I'm afraid. But I'm a soldier, O'Byrne. I follow orders." Reyes narrowed her eyes. "I need you to keep doing the corporal thing, Felix went septic. Webley thinks he's dead within the hour." Edwyn blinked in surprise. Felix was a career merc who'd been bounced around between units and companies for various offenses, mostly relating to his tendency to drink heavily. He'd only been with the 121st for a couple of months, and he was a lazy, mean old bastard, but Edwyn had liked him. "You're taking an actual squad this time. That Jayser you found is with you." She trailed off, not wanting to say 'because no one else will take her.' Edwyn sighed, and nodded, the temporary spurt of defiance gone.




He went to go collect the members of his squad, and the first one he found was Kyra.

"You're with me, Sloane." He cleared his throat. "I, uh, asked to make sure Ushkov was put with someone else. You shouldn't have to worry about him." It was true, but he was sure that fact provided little comfort. Doubtless, a good chunk of the men shared his prejudices. Even if they didn't, if every single other squadmate was a forward-thinking egalitarian, they were still quite probably headed to their deaths. He realized, then, that as like as not they'd never have a real conversation, since one or both of them were liable to die within the next couple of hours. It was a sobering thought, and he wanted to talk, then. Ask her something about herself, so that he could connect her name in his head with something other than 'Jayser,' but he didn't. There wasn't time.
I'll be looking into a post tomorrow, but I might just wait for @TheLazarus
“Drostan” sounds like part of the title for a TV thriller.

The Drostan Files.


Not even gonna lie I got it from Call of Duty
"Cool it, Sloane!" Edwyn snapped, when he saw her level the rifle. He'd watched the whole ordeal, and had been about to step in and say something when the other soldier, Edwyn thought his name might have been Ushkov, grabbed her, but thought better of it after she put him on his ass. It was a fight, they were bound to happen, and he was going to let it play out. Then, guns started getting pointed. "We're all on the same side." He looked to the man against the tree trunk. "Isn't that right, Ushkov?"

"I ain't working with no fuckin' freak." Ushkov was talking to Edwyn, but his eyes were trained firmly on Kyra. Something in the space between fear and anger in his eyes. Edwyn took a moment, then, to really study the man. Ushkov was older than him, he guessed, but by how much was hard to tell. He was bald, with a nasty-looking scar on his neck. Edwyn didn't know his story, but he didn't seem like a man that was used to losing fights.

"I've been surviving shit like this for more than a year, and I do not intend to die on this goddamn rock because you're scared of Jaysers, Ushkov!" The edge in Edwyn's voice surprised himself. He figured his words were probably fueled by his own fear, his own anger. He guessed you didn't need a reason to live to be afraid of dying. If he survived the only future ahead of him laid in more battles, more near-deaths. But as bleak as that was, dying amongst strangers on a planet that no one would remember in twenty years felt bleaker.

"I ain't scared of shit." Ushkov said, finally looking away from Kyra to spit at the ground, presumably to punctuate his point. Edwyn allowed himself a slight grin at the man's expense.

"Good. Then there'll be no more problems?" He met Ushkov's eyes, and when Ushkov didn't respond he sighed and amended his words. "No more harassing your squadmates while we're in enemy territory?" And then Ushkov grumbled in agreement and stood up, purposefully not looking at Kyra. He felt a little guilty. He didn't have a problem with Jaysers, personally. He'd had a cousin with J Syndrome, but he'd drank himself to death on account of the migraines. He'd taken a soft stance, with Ushkov. But the last thing he needed was someone who hated him watching his back. Besides, Kyra was very clearly able to take care of herself. "And, Sloane, try and keep that thing pointed toward the people who are getting paid to try and kill us."




He'd been a leader, before. Back home, on Manifest. A union rep, and then a revolutionary. He'd lost the taste for it, after all of that had crumbled, and he was surprised to find that he still had any kind of ability to do so. Then again, it was easy to lead when the fear of getting gunned down if you made a wrong move hung in the air. Scared people were easily led, as any of The League's high councilors or any of the corporations boardsmen could tell you. Still, though, he almost wept with relief as they neared his dropship. Reyes could find someone else to play corporal.
Edwyn had learned the poor bastard's name. Goddamnit, he'd learned his name. His last name, anyway. Daly. Shorter guy, young. Really young. Couldn't have been older than nineteen or so. The boy had talked almost the entire hike to the crash site, and Edwyn had sort-of half listened, just managing to catch his name. He'd had a kind of monotone, faux-low voice that made it clear he was trying to sound older than he was.

And now he was in two pieces, and very dead.

"RUN!"

Someone had shouted, he wasn't sure who. Whoever it was had the right idea, though. The sustained fire from the vehicle across the way was tearing them apart. After the shots sank into the dropship and after Daly got sawed in half, one of his other men, one of the ones whose name he didn't know caught a shot to the face. The others started running, and Edwyn held his rifle in one hand and grabbed one of Kyra's arms with his other.

"We need to fuckin' go!" And he started running after the others, heavy rounds slapping into the dead soil around them. He fully expected the shooter to get lucky, for a stray round to catch him in the leg or the chest, but it didn't happen. Not this time. Not today.




By the time they'd gotten far enough away to no longer hear the gunshots, they'd lost another. Of the five men Reyes had ordered him to take, three were dead. There were four of them, now, including himself and the survivor from the dropship. He took a seat, hard, on a dead tree trunk. There were lots of dead trees, here, some fallen and others still mournfully upright. This place must have been a forest, once. Edwyn allowed himself a brief moment of self-pity as he examined his situation. So far as he was concerned, he'd gotten three people killed. They had a bit of a hike to get back to where Reyes and the others, were, too. He put his head in his hands, silently counted to twenty, and then forced himself to stand.

There wasn't terribly much that Edwyn O'Byrne was good at, but lately he'd become quite adept at forcing himself to keep moving. He knew that if he stopped for very long at all, he'd never get moving again. It was true of his thoughts, his memories, and it was true of sitting there on that trunk.

"Right, then, everyone's weapons unlocked?" He looked around at his companions. "Mine are fine, but I don't have the authority to unlock anyone else's, someone can have my sidearm if they need it." He sighed, and decided then that he was going to commit himself to keeping at least these three people alive. "Oh, and, uh, names. We can drop the sir and ma'am shit, now. You can call me Ed, Edwyn, or O'Byrne. I don't much care." He scratched the back of his neck, trying to see a way forward in his head. "I figure we can take another two or three minutes here, catch our breath, and then we need to book it back to the main landing site. I think it's, ah, due northwest."
Drostan Welm/"Osmund Griff" - Dalenham, Ethora





Sunlight streamed through the window and directly into Drostan's eyes, as he groaned into hesitant consciousness. His head hurt, his throat felt dry. He hadn't even thought he'd drank that much the previous night, but his body begged to differ. He was glad that he'd managed to drag himself back to his room at some point, though the rented bed hadn't done much to ease the various aches and brusies from the last job. And, as he thought about jobs, he remembered with a subdued despair that he had another one to do that morning. He weighed his options. It would be oh-so-easy to remain in bed, sleep for another few hours, and then hightail it out of Ethora before any of his more responsible comrades could confront him.

Or, he could wake up and do what he said he'd do.

He sat upright, rubbed his eyes and was up for the day. He splashed some water from the room's washpan in his face and then began the long process of armoring himself. A process, to be sure. He didn't wear full plate, couldn't afford it even if he wanted to, instead opting for a hodgepodge of leather, chain, and the odd bit of solid metal. It was the result of many repairs, by many blacksmiths of various skill. It didn't look terrible, he supposed, but he'd still wear it even if it did. After all, he hadn't gotten killed yet. Once his armor was dealt with, all that was left was to strap his shield and spear to his back and his sword to his waist.

About ten minutes later, he found his companions, stepping into their midst squinting against the sunlight.

"I'm not late, am I?" He looked around, nodded at Edon and Varian. As he looked at the highman, his eyes widened as though remembering something, followed by a small, knowing smile. "Ah, Varian, I think I lost track of you last night. What happened to your head?" He wanted to ask about the girl that he vaguely remembered seeing him with, but he supposed it wasn't his business. He wanted to say something to Edon, but he wasn't sure what. The man hadn't joined in with his and Varian's carousing. Well, Drostan hadn't done much carousing, unless that definition included sitting in the same spot and drinking for a few hours. The way he felt, though, he had to admit that Edon might have had the right idea.
Will be posting here in a few. Tonight for sure.
Drostan Welm / "Osmund Griff" - Dalenham, Ethora





Drostan didn't acknowledge Edon beyond a grunt. He didn't have a terribly strong opinion of the man, but there was something about him. Drostan could almost smell the high society on him, as far as his mannerisms went. If he wasn't blue-blooded, as Drostan had the feeling he was, then he was sure that Edon wished he was. His stiffness and formality when talking to Varian and his lack of a greeting for Drostan didn't much help his distaste. But at the moment, it was just that, distaste. He couldn't bring himself to hate him, certainly not yet. At least the man had proved himself a capable warrior. He'd never turn up his nose at the prospect of a skilled halberdier on his flank.

He raised an eyebrow as Edon took the money without counting it. Odd, but he understood. When he first started taking jobs on his own, a few years ago in Falke, he had never wanted to count his money in front of his clients. It felt rude, but after the second time, he'd been cheated he'd made it a habit. As such he made sure to count this, too. But he did it sort of lazily, just opening the bag and doing a quick count with his eyes, shifting the coins around to be sure it looked right. If he was dealing with a contractor, he'd have dumped it out on the table and made a show of counting each coin, but Varian had shown himself a decent sort so far and, besides, company commanders, in general, were good about this sort of thing. Most realized it wasn't wise to cheat the people who traveled, slept, and ate with you, all while armed.

He frowned as the short man found them and started speaking to Varian. Jobs for anonymous clients were always on the shadier side. He had his doubts that the brigands were actually brigands and that the man's daughter was actually his daughter, but there was no way to know for sure unless they did the mission. The way he figured, either they were hired and they did the job themselves, or they turned it down and the man found some even nastier bunch of bastards to do it.

"Could always do with a bit more silver." Drostan said, without much expression. He took a drink of his ale, but kept his eyes on the man. He was rich, plainly. If the robe and the garb concealed beneath didn't give that away, the payment he was offering did. He didn't trust the man, didn't trust the job, didn't trust the money. "Your daughter, sir. What's her name?" He locked eyes with the man, trying to read him. "It's just, the way I figure, might be hard to find her if we don't even know her name."
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